Sunday, August 17, 2014

All Aboard the Amtrak

     'This is the most terribly thing that I have ever seen."  Those are the words that I just uttered as I plowed through the second half hour of a 90 minute podcast.  Of course, this was not the Big Dave and Company Podcast, because no one would ever say that about the Big Dave and Company Podcast, but it was a different one and it was a train wreck, but not an adorable train wreck like we always were.  This was just terrible.  But you have to say "terrible" as if you were Charles Barkley in order to get the same effect. 
Gillian Jacobs
So anyway, it was terrible but I was enthralled, and it was not just because the bewitching Gillian Jacobs was on it.  There was just something about it that made me unable to look away.
     Why are we like that?  What is wrong with us as humans, Company, that we just can't seem to look away from a train wreck.  Is that the state of the human condition?  Gaper's block?  Is that what we have come to?  We are at the point in humanity where the number one thing in our day is slowing down on the freeway to stare over at the other side of the median at the result of what happens when a guy in a Kia Rio decided to cut off a semi.  And then we go home and talk about it.
    But we don't just talk about it at home.  That is what is on our news.  Awful, awful things are on the news.  There is a reason why the national news reporter is always embedded with the Army unit and not Doctors Without Borders.  Because we don't care that much about the good things.  For some reason, we do not want to watch a half hour of good news and positive things at 6 PM.  We want to watch a half hour of train wrecks, blood and gore, people fighting, with a little weather and a live spot from the Dolphins' training camp and then one single, solitary good story just to remind us that we really are good as people.  That maybe we really are okay and do like puppies.  It sort of just allows us enough of a sliver of hope to believe that we aren't terrible people who are into the gore.
     We are though, and that is the problem.  Ever seen news footage of an Amtrak train crash?  It seemed like it was happening once a week during the 90s and I am sure you could YouYube the hell out of it.  What you will notice is fifty people standing around watching what it happening and three people running towards the wreckage to help someone.  And if it were happening today each of those hundred people would have their cell phone out to record what was going on.  Because that is the way we are.  We don't want to watch, but we can't turn away, and we know it.  We know that we will watch over and over those three people running towards what is left of those train cars, and someone has to provide the video.  We don't want to watch but we can't turn away.  We need the puppy parade section of the news to make remind us that we don't want to watch.  But the embedded reporter is the part that can not turn away.
     And we are getting worse, too.  Look at the video of the Hindenburg burning.  How many people are running towards that thing despite the fact that it is clearly not going to end well?  Well, no one at first because it is a fireball falling from the sky.  But once it settles there they all go, running towards it.  Way more than would be today.  There they go, full steam ahead, just like we as humanity are.  Full steam ahead towards the next Amtrack crash so we can gawk and get our sick, cheap, thrills.  All aboard!

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